Tag Archives: Midleton VR

An Pucan, Galway.

The 2nd pub of my Galway Whiskey Trail adventure was only a short walk up Forster Street to the garishly coloured An Pucan bar.

As you can see from the photo above I actually got there before opening time – the train arrived about 10 past – so I took a few snaps before entering.

Before you ask – and I quote here;

“An Púcán” is actually a boat. It is a smaller version of the famous Galway Hooker or Bád Mór. It is about 30 feet in length and was used for fishing and hauling turf around Galway Bay, although they were probably used in other places as well. Nowadays they are pretty much pleasure boats and you can usually see some at the “Cruinniu na m Bad’ a local boat festival in Kinvara Co. Galway. I’ve heard it pronounced “un pookawn”.

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Pucan afloat c/o flikr

A large roomy and spacious area greets you – along with the friendly staff – upon going through the yellow doors. The sheer amount of whiskey showing both behind the bar and in glass display cabinets along the whole of the opposite wall is overwhelming. An Pucan pride themselves in having over 200 expressions on offer.

Luckily I’d heard word through the interweb that the mysterious Craic & Divilment Irish Whiskey was in the house. My eagle eyes scanned the shelves and sure enough – there was the bottle – proudly showing the billy goat sitting quietly on the bar counter.

A glass was soon poured – and not just any glass either – a Glencairn glass I’ll have you know. An Pucan definitely take their whiskey seriously!

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Craic & Divilment Irish Whiskey in An Pucan, Galway with the Glencain glass c/o thewhiskeynut

Some photos were taken of the golden liquid together with more questions which the staff helpfully answered before I ambled off to sit at a chair – fashioned  out of used barrels no less – to enjoy the whiskey. Lovely. For a full review check out a previous blog here.

A further enquiry to the staff about whether I could take more pictures led to much cheerful banter and advice.

‘We have some expensive whiskeys you know – only 10,000 euro a bottle’

‘Ah’ I gulped ‘A bit beyond my price range I think’

Indeed it was WAY beyond anything I could afford – but if you’re in the market – it’s a Midleton VR 30th Anniversery Pearl Edition if you want it.

‘But you’d better hurry’

as Badfinger sang,

”cause it’s going fast’

could equally be applied to the smooth Craic & Divilment Whiskey too as it’s only a limited release.

Rare – discontinued – exclusive bottlings – Japanese – French – American – Welsh and even a pre-whisky whisky from the Puni Distillery in Italy could have enticed me to stay here all day.

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What would you be having? c/othewhiskeynut

Even although it was just after 11am – a few customers were chatting away. A woman over from the Aran Islands – the shuttle buses for the ferry must use the nearby depot -reminisced about when she used to come to the pub for all the dancing with the bands. The staff assured her there was still plenty of dancing and still plenty of live bands playing too.

‘Probably more suited to my daughter’s tastes who’s up here at college herself now. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her the stories of all the great times I had in here dancing’

‘Maybe yer daughter has already been in here enjoying the dancing as well’

‘I hope tis only the dancing she’s been enjoying’ came the reply coupled with a wicked smile and crackling laughter.

Ah yes.

The Irish Pub.

Don’t you just love it.

I certainly do.

That’s the craic – as in the banter- as well as the craic that’s in the whiskey from divilment.

I get the feeling that An Pucan – along with Craic & Divilment – are on to something good here.

Long may it last.

Sláinte

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Kilkenny Whiskey Trip

An invitation to a 25th Wedding Anniversary helped to extend the New Year celebrations for herself and me.

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Swollen R Brosna at Kilbeggan c/o thewhiskeynut

The first port of call was our local distillery in Kilbeggan for a personalised bottle to the happy couple. Despite the swollen River Brosna and extensive flooding throughout the Midlands, the distillery had escaped any damage and was opening for the 2016 season when we visited. There were already plenty of visitors in the bar area when we arrived but being the driver I made do with tea and scone from the lovely Pantry Restaurant.

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Personalised Kilbeggan c/o thewhiskeynut

Gift in the bag – it was down the N52 to Tullamore then onto the N80 to Carlow. Interestingly both these towns have whiskey distilleries either open – Tullamore DEW – or being built – Walsh Distillery.

Our destination was Ballykealy Manor Hotel just south of Carlow to meet up with old friends – new acquaintances – a celebratory meal and a few new whiskeys!

At any new venue I generally scan the bar for expressions I’ve not tried before. In this department Ballykealy did not disappoint. Along with the usual entry blends – Jameson, Paddy and Powers – there were some mid-range offerings – Bushmills 10, 16, Jameson & Powers 12 – as well as a Midleton VR from 2006.

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Ballykealy whiskey selection c/o thewhiskeynut

What caught my eye however was the Craggenmore 12 year old Speyside single malt I’d not tasted. This I duly ordered as a pre-meal appetiser which proved to be a lovely smooth unpeated Scotch and  helped ease my way into the evenings craic that ensued.

After a sumptuous 3 course meal in the splendid dining room – the bar and it’s resident whiskeys beckoned and I must have worked my way through a fair amount of the expressions on offer including the very fine Midleton VR.

The next day dawned bright and sunny  – a welcome reprieve from the constant rain we’ve been having. A hearty breakfast – more chat and then long goodbyes rounded off the morning before we departed for Kilkenny – The Marble City.

My wife had chosen the destination – but I’d done a quick internet search and found a suitable watering hole in Dylan‘s Whiskey Bar which fortuitously happened to be across the road from our hotel!

Outside it’s an inviting red decor – inside it’s a lovely mix of wooden snugs – dim lighting – whiskey mirrors and memorabilia as well as an entire wall of whiskey to wonder at!

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Irish whiskey wall at Dylan’s c/o thewhiskeynut

The friendly and informative staff guided my non-whiskey drinking wife through some tasty gins – ending up with a lovely Hendricks with added cucumber, tonic and ice. This satisfied her no end. I opted for a Knappogue Castle 12 year old. A decent dram indeed. Meanwhile a taster of Jack Ryan’s 12 was sampled and matched my flavour bias much better. A blind taster was proffered as a sort of test which I must admit I failed miserably as I couldn’t identify the dram as the Amrut Fusion from India – and I even have a bottle of it back home!

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Amrut Fusion going down nicely! c/o thewhiskeynut

Ah well – this place is whiskey heaven. I could sit here all night going through the expressions on display – but a feed was in order so off to the Italian we went.

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Ristorante Rinuccini c/o Georgie M

Not any old Italian however – my wife has fine tastes – the award winning Ristorante Rinuccini just down from the castle was her chosen spot. The staff were very friendly and efficient. The food was delightful and flavoursome and to top it all there was an extensive whiskey list to choose from. Certainly the largest selection I’ve encountered in a restaurant before (maybe I just don’t get out enough).

The Singleton of Duffton rounded off the evening meal. A satisfyingly rich and complex Speyside single malt. Sadly I didn’t catch the actual expression tasted –  and there are a few judging from the website – but it was enjoyable.

Rinuccini also have an extensive range of Italian wines and grappa. An enquiry was made if they had the new Italian whisky Puni but as it’s only just been released they didn’t – as yet – but perhaps sometime?

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Italian Whisky c/o Claudio Riva

Suitably stuffed a leisurely amble through the medieval town centre afforded us views of trendy shops and plenty of pubs – most of which displayed a varied range of whiskeys to taste. Kilkenny seems to have a lot to offer on the dark spirit front!

We repaired back to Dylan’s for another drink. Despite being a Sunday night there was live music playing with a good crowd of revellers enjoying themselves. Herself went for the Hendricks whilst myself went for the Tyrconnell Port Finish.

Dylan’s is the first pub I’ve come across to have the entire Tyrconnell range of finishes and a tasting tray of all 4 would be a real treat – as well as a display of the influences various cask finishes have on the resulting tipple. For my purposes this would be better appreciated at the start of the evening rather than at the end – so I made do and savoured the richer, bolder flavours of the port finish over the more light and clear single malt Tryrconnell.

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Tyrconnell c/o thewhiskeynut

We had a sing-a-long and a few laughs to the music before heading back to the hotel.

I fancied a nightcap and headed to the bar. There were the usual array of whiskeys on offer and I originally went for a Crested Ten – but an unknown name caught my eye – Mulligan Whiskey Liqueur.  An Irish Distillers Group offering – now discontinued I later found out – was duly ordered.

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Mulligan Whiskey Liqueur c/o IrishWhiskeySociety

On tasting the Mulligan a reassuring whiskey hit was immediately drowned out by a thick sweet dose of honey. Not quite to my taste at all – but nonetheless yet another flavour experience encountered in the name of whiskey exploration!

Kilkenny has a lot to offer the whiskey drinker.

I’d certainly like to call back again in the near future – but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a song encountered  at The Dylan Whiskey Bar.

 

Sláinte

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